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Victim of psychic who swindled him out of €10k blasts her as ‘wicked’ and ‘selfish’

“She is a very dishonest person,” he said.

Debbie Paget, of Knowth Court, Ballymun, Dublin pictured at the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ)

Patrick O'Connell

A MAN, who handed over €10,000 to a psychic swindler on the supposed instructions of his dead father, has blasted the carer turned con-woman as a ‘wicked, selfish and manipulative scumbag.’

In an interview with the Sunday World, James Byrne and his sister Maria told how self-described ‘psychic medium’ Debbie Paget:

  • Was welcomed into their home as a carer for Maria after she fell down the stairs fracturing her leg in seven places;
  • Began poisoning the sibling’s minds against one another within weeks of taking up the role;
  • Constantly tried to interest the pair in allowing her to ‘read them’ – even telling Maria on one occasion she had seen her dead father standing next to her;
  • Exerted constant pressure on the pair to hand over money from a compensation award James had received.

Paget – who was this week convicted of dishonestly inducing by deception James Byrne to give her €10,000 but found not guilty of inducing Maria Byrne to give her €200 – was not home when we called to property in Knowth Court, Ballymun this week.

On Facebook, where she continues to advertise her services as a medium – she is maintaining her innocence.

“It’s a miscarriage of justice,” she told one supporter, “and I’m going to see if I can do anything,”

Told of Paget’s denials, victim James said he wasn’t surprised.

“She is a very dishonest person,” he said.

Asked how Paget had come into their lives, Maria said she had suffered a fall while stepping off the bottom step of the stairs of the family home in 2020.

“I fell down the last step of the stairs and I fractured my ankle in five places,” she recalled.

“I was in hospital for two weeks and after that I was in respite for three months... She ended up coming in to care for me. It was an hour in the morning and an hour at night. She was nice at first but then started not turning up a good bit of the time.

“And when she did turn up... she started coming out and saying things about James … things, she said, I wasn’t to tell James.”

James said Paget was also doing this with him.

“One time, she said to me that Maria was only using me. I wasn’t to say it but I did say that back to Maria. And that had a big impact on our relationship.”

Maria said it was about a year into Paget’s work with her as a carer before she convinced the siblings to do a reading.​

“She took us out to her house together,” James recalled. She brought out the candles and the incense. And she did two readings … one for each of us. When she did mine, she told me that I was going to feel my father touching me. I didn’t feel anything.

“She said a few things and then she said your father wants you to give me €10,000... I didn’t feel a touch but I did believe my father was there. And the next day I went to the bank and took out... €10,000 for her.”

Asked why he gave Paget the money, James replied: ​

“She told me it would be a sin on my soul if I didn’t. She said the devil would get me and I would go to hell.

“She kept pressing and pressing and I couldn’t take any more.”​

​ The siblings then realised James had been swindled when Paget stopped working as Maria’s carer within a matter of weeks. Then they went to the Gardaí.

“She is so dishonest, she hurt us, she betrayed, she’s a “wicked, selfish, manipulative scumbag.”

On Tuesday, a jury in the Circuit Criminal Court found Paget guilty of the first count. Sentencing will take place on July 10.

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